Thursday, February 14, 2008

To The Ones I Love

I think I've practically boycotted Valentines Day just about every year. Bah humbug and a toast to Single Awareness Day and all that jazz. But hope remains and I'm neither desperate nor bitter this year.

I guess a part of me has worn my heart on my sleeve - here it is, this is how I feel. But it has less to do with me being a romantic and more to do with the fact that I'm trying to be more authentic in general. And I feel a ton more alive and appreciative of the fact that I am free to care and share and love and cry.

"I like you. Unapologetically. And I just wanted you to know it."

Authenticity to contrast the closet has been refreshing. It's fun to live outside of the prison of my own head with the coulda-shoulda-woulda-if-only-but-maybe tapes stuck on constant replay. The abundant life that God has promised is in the here and now and this time I'm accepting the gift. I can only trust that the Lord has heard my petitions for the "one" companion who would complement (not complete) me - we are better together than separate.

In the mean time, I want to be intentional about not neglecting to notice the "ones" that God has blessed me with in my life.

To the one who has been my partner in purpose,
To the one who catalyzed my journey in 2005,
To the one who keeps me silly,
To the one who literally stood by my side in the wake of 2001,
To the one who has shown me that strength is more than simple physical endurance,
To the one who embodied friendship towards me when I was clearly struggling,
To the one who proves that the Internet really does keep friends connected,
To the one who makes me laugh EVERY SINGLE TIME,
To the one who inspires me to care,
To the one who has been like my little brother,
To the one who has restored my hope in that rare creature called a mutual connection,
To the One who never left me . . . .

Each of you have touched my heart and my life in an amazing way. And so with my heart and with my life I say,

"I love you. Unapologetically. And I just wanted you to know it."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Candidate or Catalyst?

I walked away from the polls today realizing that I had never before wrestled this much with choosing a Presidential candidate. The results and whether or not I voted for the one that actually wins is less relevant to me than having my singular voice heard and counted.

Having never been well versed with history or politics, trying to engage in an intelligent political conversation would just make me look silly. I've always strayed away from politics-as-usual because the smell of conflict and tension makes me cringe. I'm tired of the same ole red vs. blue debates. I hold no loyalty to either party and so it had always seemed better to me to tune out.

However, change is in the air and I'm tuning in. I welcome change because I have changed. My world view has changed and that has affected the lens in which I use to answer many questions: How do I live a lifestyle of faith? How do I experience myself and my relationships authentically? How do I respond to injustice? How do I love others more fully?

My paradigm shift over these past several years has gradually led me to a natural interest and participation in public policy because I want to live in a country (world) that respects and allows me to explore those questions without the mixed messages that communicate "you are an equal unless you want to be different". I think it's important to be involved in the process because I want to be part of the culture shift. So now is the time to cast my vote to be part of catalyzing that change . . . .

I oscillated back and forth today between the two democratic candidates that represented change. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. I voted for Bush . . . twice. Yeah, I've changed in recent years. But today being Super-Duper Amazing Tuesday (as my friend Ross called it) in the delegate-rich California, I went through the entire day undecided about how I was going to vote. I had been inclined towards Barack for his inspirational presence for months but in the last two weeks I couldn't ignore the experience that Hillary brings to the forefront.

Both represent change. Both represent me, in certain ways. But i've also found points or issues that I don't completely subscribe to from both candidates. I'm learning that that's okay. It'd be arrogant of me to feel like the best candidate for President of the United States is the one that holds my issues and positions as if my opinion and perspective is the best one for the country. No, i've got much to learn.

I weighed both candidates all day. I inquired with friends and those I respect about how they were inclined. I examined both their web sites and each of their claims on positions they take on issues. Plus here and minus there. Plus there and minus here. Less than an hour before polls closed, I saw strengths and weaknesses in both candidates and still had not yet decided. Reading up on their issues and background didn't help me make a decision. And I stepped into my poll booth not knowing how I was going to vote.

So I decided not to simply vote for the candidate - the black man or the white woman. Both have plans and strategies that could work and both surround themselves with advisors with a wealth of experience. Instead I decided to vote for the catalyst - the one who spoke my language, the one who could inspire the nation onto its feet to move itself. At the end of this (Super Duper Amazing) day, I don't need my candidate to have all the answers to the problems - just one that will show me that I can be part of the solution.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

bXg in the Mid-South Region

Beyond Ex-Gay is hosting a Mid-South Regional Gathering at the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center on February 23, 2008 from 2:00 - 5:00 PM. There will be workshops, round table discussions, support and a series of events called "Deconstructing the Ex-Gay Myth: A Weekend of Action and Art". My friends Peterson Toscano, Christine Bakke, and Daniel Gonzales will be there helping to organize and mobilize for this event, as well as Jim Burroway and Jacob Wilson.

I highly recommend that you plug in to this event if you are in this region. If you have been through an ex-gay program or if you are struggling to reconcile your faith and sexuality in the context of a Side X culture or if you want to explore how to tell your story effectively to help others, where ever you are, I encourage you to travel in to Memphis, TN for this gathering. There will be people there who understand and can help!

For more info, go to

Also check out this video from last summer's Ex-Gay Survivor Conference: